By Lou Panos
The newly created commission, headed by former Councilman John Murphy of Catonsville, was announced last week. Its report is due by May 1.
This commission will begin shaping its recommendations just as a committee set up by Democratic Councilman Vince Gardina has finished its proposals, which Gardina released last Friday.
Other suggestions have also come from former Councilman Doug Riley of Towson, now a Republican candidate for county executive, and more will come from two delegates.
The delegates, Wade Kach of Cockeysville and James Ports of Perry Hall, are reported nearly ready to begin circulating their proposed redistricting process in the form of a petition. Like the others, this would involve charter amendments to be voted on in November.
And like those of the Gardina committee, the Kach-Porter proposals are expected to call for the establishment of a bipartisan commission which would craft a redistricting plan. The plan would be aired at public hearings.
The Gardina committee, consisting of four educators and a League of Women Voters representative, would also require at least one hearing in each of the seven councilmanic districts.
The rooting about for a better way to establish new districts began last year after a public outcry over how the Council shaped the districts to take effect for the November 2002 election.
At a stormy hearing on a proposed plan, citizens protested that the scheme had been concocted in secrecy without opportunity for public input.
Under that plan, two incumbent councilmen _ Gardina and Republican Wayne Skinner of Loch Raven _ are in the same district and would run against each other if both sought re-election and won their party primaries.
Several speakers at a belatedly called public hearing on the County Council's plan complained that it split Towson into three districts. An amendment later reduced this to two.
At its regular meeting last week, the Council approved a bill by Councilman Bryan McIntire of Glyndon to tighten restrictions on wireless communications towers.
The measure would require zoning officials to consider the effect of proposed tower construction on scenic overviews and historic districts.
Also at its Jan. 22 session, the Council received a measure introduced by three members to require the licensing of certain types of residential rental property.
Councilmen John Olszewski, of Sparrows Point, Skinner and Gardina proposed the bill after residents complained about inadequately supervised and maintained rental housing in certain neighborhoods.
The sponsors contend that the licensing requirement would strengthen county oversight of such property.
E-mail Lou Panos at email@example.com.